CONNACHT HAVE CONFIRMED that Robbie Henshaw will leave the province at the end of the season.
The announcement paves the way for the 22-year-old to make his expected move to Leinster this summer.
The42 understands that Henshaw has agreed a national contract with the IRFU and will move to the eastern province ahead of the 2016/17 season.
Henshaw was developed through Connacht’s academy system and has established himself as a key player in Pat Lam’s squad in recent seasons as his international reputation has grown too.
The lure of Leinster has been strong for Henshaw, however, and the 22-year-old is understood to be keen on playing with Ireland out-half Johnny Sexton on a more regular basis.
Henshaw’s performances for Joe Schmidt’s side since his Test debut in 2013 ensured there was interest from France for his signature, meaning his retention on home soil is a coup for the IRFU.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in Connacht Rugby who has played a part in getting me to where I am today, from my club, Buccaneers, to my school, Marist College and all of the coaching staff in Connacht Rugby itself,” said Henshaw in Connacht’s press release.
“I was fortunate to be given my chance to play pro rugby at just 19 years of age and it’s been an incredible journey over the past four seasons, culminating in my breakthrough onto the national team.
“I also want to thank the Connacht fans who have always been so supportive of not just me but the team as a whole. Connacht Rugby are sitting in a strong position both in the PRO12 and Challenge Cup and I am determined to play my part to ensure we finish the season out on a high.”
Meanwhile, Pat Lam expressed Connacht’s disappointment at Henshaw’s decision.
“Obviously we are disappointed with the ultimate outcome of our negotiations with Robbie, however, we respect the decision he has made and wish him all the best with the Irish team into the future.”